Tourism For Locals: Ina Coolbrith Park Honors S.F. Poet Pioneer

Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
The view from Coolbrith's Park
In the San Francisco poetry world, there's a woman that embodied the sayings of "women rule the world" and "behind every great man is an even greater woman," and that woman was Ina Dona Coolbrith.

Coolbrith was a revolutionary poet who brought local speech and sights into her work and broke barriers for women in the arts. She even inspired and mentored some of the greatest writers in American literature, which include Jack London and Mark Twain.

Coolbrith had many firsts in her lifetime, most notably of which include being the first poet laureate of California (and for that fact, any state in the U.S.), and the first female poet laureate back in 1919.

The San Francisco park dedicated to her namesake is first rate as well, and boasts breathtaking views that reach poetic heights.

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The Write Stuff: Rob Rosen on Falling in Love Repeatedly and Often

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Ken Blackwell
Rob Rosen, award-winning author of the novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You'll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, and Queens of the Apocalypse, and editor of the anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor, and Best Gay Erotica 2015, has had short stories featured in more than 200 anthologies.

When people ask what do you do, you tell them... ?

I'm a writer, I answer, proudly and with a broad smile on my face.

What's your biggest struggle -- work or otherwise?

I have a 9-5 job, and a 5-9 job as well, my writing being the latter. I wish there were more hours in the day to be able to get on paper all the stories swirling around inside my twisted, little brain.

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San Francisco Family Participated in Project to Document the Trash Habits of American Families

Peter Menzel & Faith D'Aluisio
Waste in Focus Project, Developed and Independently Produced by Peter Menzel & Faith D'Aluisio

How much of what you throw out every week do you think can be composted or recycled?

San Franciscans tend to be more conscious of what they throw in the garbage bin than most U.S. cities, with compost bins in (practically) every establishment and charging for bags in every store.

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Translation, Best Friends, Greek Politics and Free Wine and Beer

Open Letters Books. Credit: Nathan Furl.
How I Killed My Best Friend

Amanda Michalopoulou, one of Greece's leading authors, has written short stories, a children's series, and five other novels, along with her latest, How I Killed My Best Friend. And she'll be at The Book Club of California this Friday, doing a reading followed by a conversation with her translator, Karen Emmerich about this latest book, which Gary Shteyngart (author of Super Sad True Love Story and the memoir Little Failure,) called " flawlessly translated." He went on to say she uses the backdrop of "Greek politics, radical protests, and the art world to explore the dangers and joys that come with BFFs. Or, as the narrator puts it, 'odiodsamato,' which translates roughly as 'frienemies.'"

In How I Killed My Best Friend, Michalopoulou writes about, Maria, an African immigrant to Greece, who becomes friends with Anna, a transplant from Paris. The two girls navigate grade school in the '70s, in post-dictatorship Greece.

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Tourism For Locals: Robert Frost Monument Marks Origin of Poet's Life

Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
Understated monument to the simply profound poet Robert Frost.

He was a revolutionary poet of the 20th century and achieved what few poets could in their lifetimes: fame and recognition for their work.

Robert Frost became an American institution and his prolific repertoire of poetry collections won both the critics' respect and the public's support and affection. Frost's writing style is known to capture the diversity of American speech/colloquialisms while also depicting honest and accurate portrayals of New England rural life.

But why are we writing about Frost, who seems to be associated only with the East Coast? Well, looks (or in this case poems) can be deceiving, because the great American poet was originally from San Francisco, and not New England.

April is National Poetry Month and here at Tourism for Locals, we're going to highlight monuments and locations that either shaped or pay tribute to those who have contributed to the San Francisco and national poetic canon. For this week, we're visiting the Robert Frost Monument near the Embarcadero.

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The Write Stuff: Matthew Zapruder on Language When It Starts to Get Liberated

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Meghan Dewar
Matthew Zapruder is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon 2010), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Sun Bear (Copper Canyon 2014). An assistant professor in the St. Mary's College of California MFA program and English department, he is also an editor at Wave Books. He lives in Oakland. See him read at City Lights Bookstore on Tuesday, April 15.

When people ask what do you do, you tell them... ?

If in their eyes I detect the usual understandable flicker of disinterest about the conversation, in order to let us both go on our peaceful separate ways, I say "English professor." If for some reason they seem to really want to talk, I will say "poet." More often than not something weird happens after that.

What's your biggest struggle -- work or otherwise?

My own distraction.

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Talking with Meanwhile in San Francisco Author Wendy MacNaughton

Wendy MacNaughton

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about Wendy MacNaughton's book Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in Its Own Words. The book features MacNaughton's whimsical drawings of different parts of the city alongside quotes from S.F. citizens describing each area.

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The Write Stuff: SB Stokes on Re-testing Desire Through the Work You Produce

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Ian Tuttle
SB Stokes' first book of poetry, A History of Broken Love Things, is out now from Punk Hostage Press. He has produced the blog MASS COMMUNICATIONS since 2004 and also can be found on YouTube and Tumblr. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is a founder, event producer and art director for Oakland's free, annual literary event, Beast Crawl, which happens Saturday, July 12 this year.

When people ask what do you do, you tell them... ?

"I'm a bouncer" is my first answer normally, but it depends on the environment and who is asking. If they care about literature or poetry, I'll tell them I write poems and tell them about my book, ask them if they've heard of Beast Crawl. If they're looking for design help, I'll tell them about my editing and designing and art directing skills. Sometimes I'll offer to read them a poem or two, but it really depends on who's asking and where we are at that time.

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Green Apple Books Wins Bookstore of the Year Award


Known for its frequent events, labyrinth-esque layout, squeaky wooden floors, and wide selection of both new and used books, Green Apple Books has been one of the Richmond District's most beloved independent bookstores for 47 years. And last week, Publishers Weekly announced that Green Apple Books is this year's recipient of their annual Bookstore of the Year award.

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Ben Tarnoff's The Bohemians Makes Mark Twain S.F.'s Own

Its the 1860s and San Francisco is booming: the Gold Rush has fueled the economy of the City and everything is growing and expanding at an exponential rate.

San Francisco is getting larger -- not just in infrastructure but in population. Innovative technology and overflowing wealth attract multitudes of outsiders and San Francisco is sprawling with cultural and linguistic diversity.

With these hoards of people, there is a surge in literary demand, creating the ripe and perfect environment for writers and poets.

And it's in this plush, literary haven -- brimming with stories and characters -- where Ben Tarnoff's begins his recently published historical novel: The Bohemians.

In his book, Tarnoff chronicles the early begins of four important writers in early frontier literature: literary golden boy Bret Harte, struggling gay poet and travel writer Charles Warren Stoddard, gorgeous and haunted poet Ina Coolbrith, and the leader of these bohemian bards -- a young Mark Twain who was fleeing his draft for the Civil War.

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